spirit with a capital ‘S’

It is easy to recall the James Bond movies where at the beginning, 007 flicks his hat across the office to see it delicately lob on the empty spike at the top of the hat stand, as he walks past the smiling Miss Moneypenny and enters M’s office.

After being given his task to save the world from some imminent danger, M accompanies 007 to the basement where the Secret Service have developed a collection of devices James will require to help him fulfill his mission to save mankind.

Years earlier Jesus arrived at the River Jordan where John was baptising and sought also to be baptised by him. John was reticent at first, saying it was he who should be the one being baptised by Jesus. But, at Jesus’ insistence he relented so he could be seen by the onlookers as doing ‘all that righteousness demands’. (Matt. 3:15).

“As soon as Jesus was Baptised he came up from the water, and suddenly the heavens opened and the Spirit of God descendied like a dove and came down on him. And a voice spoke from heaven, ‘This is my Son, the beloved; my favour rests on him’”. (Matt 3:16-17).

The comparison between the two above events is similar. Jesus had come to live among us to save mankind. His Baptism was the beginning of his public mission. But before he was to commence, the Father gave him the means to assist him with the fulfillment of his role. God’s gift was not a spirit of timidity, but the Spirit of power (2 Timothy 1:7). It is easy to recognise the gifts of the Spirit Jesus possesses and uses as he fulfills his public ministry. These gifts listed in Romans 12:6-8 are prophesying, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leadership, and mercy.

James Bond always seems to be able to escape as the baddy’s world domination empire explodes on the screen. 007 lives to fight another day. Jesus on the other hand accepted the pain, suffering and death metered out to Him in order that we might be saved have eternal life.

The Father’s gift of the Spirit to the disciples at Pentecost was evidenced, not only by what appeared to be tongues of fire resting on their heads, but by the affect it had on their behaviour(Acts 2:3).  Because of our Baptism, the Spirit has an intimate internal contact with our lives, for it is the Spirit that helps us in our weakness and assists us when we pray (Romans 8:26).

There is no doubt in my mind it was the Spirit assisting Jesus in the garden as he desperately prayed to the Father. Some Bible translations refer to the Spirit as “interceding for us with groans too deep for words”.

Jesus on the cross, aware that his life was about to come to an end, was determined his final words would be heard by all those in the vicinity as he summoned all his strength to call out in a loud voice. We read in Luke 23:46 that Jesus’ final words were those from the Psalm of David (31:5), “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”.  Matthew 27:50 refers to Jesus as “Yielding up his spirit”.

While most scholars say this was Jesus surrendering his human life (His spirit), It is my understanding that it was Jesus offering the Spirit back to The Father who had gifted it to him at Baptism to complete His mission. Therefore, I feel the Gospels should show the last word Jesus uttered as being ‘Spirit’ with a capital ‘S’.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s how I feel.

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